“Why do our friends always have to leave?”

I had heard the rumours that they were due to leave the football club, but if I had known that they had an unmissable 6 foot for sale sign planted outside of their beachside property, then I would definitely have chosen another route for the kids to scoot past on their way to the beach.

It was too late, and the secret was out.

You see, up until this point back in 2011 the kids had pretty much been oblivious to our transient lifestyle. They had always accepted the kids that they played with and befriended for 6 months. And then when we introduced them to their new friends, they never questioned why their old friends had ‘disappeared out of their lives’, or ‘where their best friends have gone?’.

That is, until a four year old sobbing Riley, on a particularly hot, and typically ‘Australian’ sunny morning  asked me the very first of the gut wrenching questions:

“Mum, Why do our friends always have to leave us?”

I looked down at this pure, and quite beautifully innocent face staring back up at me, just longing for me to console him, and tell him that the for sale sign was a mistake, and that his great mate that he had played with for the last 18 months was indeed remaining his bestie.

But, no, unfortunately not, and I had to tell him the truth, that we yet again we had to start from scratch, and ‘hope’ for a new player to join the team. One that had kids with similar ages to ours, that were grounded,  ‘normal’ if you like, and start over.

I have found myself at this ‘Groundhog day’ many, many times.

If you think about it, the men go out each day to training, and spend most of the weekend with their colleagues, socialising with their brand new ‘mates’. Their new friends  are instantly provided, in the form of a ready made platter.

On the other side to that, are the partners. On the signing of a contract, our lives change, literally over night. Moving to a new area, (and twice, to a new country)  can be so daunting. All that you have in terms of socialisation is the potential to be introduced to the ‘other halves’ of the lads.  This has been my challenge for the last decade or so.

Riley’s distress was the first time I was faced with the realisation that it isn’t just me that feels sad when good people walk out of our lives. I made a little pact to myself right there and then, that from this point forward, I needed to change, I couldn’t solely rely on the football families for friendship, and would make sure that it would not affect the kids, like this, ever again.

I made a definite effort to withdraw from the football circuit. Still attending the games as often as possible to support my man, but not wholeheartedly, and not socialising as often as  I had in the past.

This was made more simple by two factors.

Firstly, the ‘latest’ team had changed from the more mature players with children, to a new era of lads. These younger lads, the lads that still had their lives, and their wives, ahead of them.

It also helped  my transition that the kids had just started school for the first time. I emerged myself in this new overenthusiastic ‘Kindy’ mum lifestyle. I made friends with great people, the kids with great friends, and our lives for the very first time seemed stable, more ‘permanent’ if you like. I didn’t have to worry about them leaving us as soon as the season ends in April, or be concerned about getting too close because it would hurt too much when they leave.

But then, in January this year, that theory was shoved out the window, Queensland gained 4 new residents. Our neighbours. A beautiful ‘non soccer playing’ family, with truly beautiful children. You see, although they weren’t involved in football, they, like us, and many others were also at the mercy of their career. A lucrative promotion, that they couldn’t possibly turndown.

It left me thinking, Regardless of our profession, or of our position in life, we give it our all for our family.

The price that we pay for this choice, may come at a cost. An expensive one at that.

Whether it be at the sacrifice of our children’s relationships, the detriment to our friendships, or the suffering of our extended family. We don’t see our parents, the kids grandparents, our siblings, our godchildren, our best friend’s for month’s, if not years at a time.

And believe you me, when our children cry themselves to sleep the night of ‘granny’s departure’ you really ask yourself, is it really all worth it?

I can’t answer that question. All I know, is that the pathway that our life has taken us so far has so many positives. But I have to admit, no matter how many times we say goodbye,  I will never get used to leaving good people behind, or being left behind by good people.

So to name a few of the beautiful families that we have been lucky enough to meet, and then leave along our journey, The McPhail’s, The Harte’s, The Kewell’s, The Orr’s, The Petrovsky’s, The Costanza’s, The Thomson’s, The Cullina’s, and most recently, The Caravella’s,

Thank you.

Not only were you great teammates to Mick, but also great friends to us both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Nice 🙂

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